After 22 years under state intervention. It's day one of local control in the Newark public school district .
Mayor Ras Baraka addressed students, faculty and the districts newly empowered school board at science park high school. Baraka says despite being under a two-year probationary period, Newark intends to keep control of its schools at all costs.
“The minute the state signed those documents the minute they turned that stuff back over to us, they have now officially given it to us, and in order for them to take it back they’re going to have a serious fight on their hands.”
Robert Gregory interim superintendent says while the district still faces a number of challenges, including being underfunded by the state to the tune of nearly $140 million, they are up for the task.
“Everyone Understands that this is a science, its not something you wake up and know how to do, and so we’re going to stay true to that science and insure that we are lifelong learners, and keep our students at the core of all of the decisions that we make.”
The search for a permanent superintendent will be headed by a seven person committee made up of members of the school board and the community, Gregory who is a lifelong Newark native and educator, remains a front-runner for the position. The state took over the district in the mid-1990s, citing years of mismanagement, chronically low test scores and crumbling infrastructure